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Camping with a Baby from a Non-Camper

Last week I took my 4 mos old baby girl camping. I work with the teenage girls in my congregation, and they had their summer camp, along with some neighboring congregations, last week. Not only is the girls camp lots of fun, its the best place to develop a friendship with the girls. I really wanted to go but knew that would mean I would have to bring my baby with me. I read LOADS of articles about camping with a baby to prepare myself. 

I put a giant list together in no particular order of everything that I found helpful and used. Everything I’m sharing in this article is for young babies (6 mos and younger) who are only nursing, hot temperatures (80-90 degrees F) during the day and somewhat cold (50 degrees F) at night. I had no power during the day, but I was ten minutes from civilization (A/C and stores) and had constant access to my car. One afternoon we both needed a break so we went for a drive so she could nap in a cool car. Most of these are amazon affiliate links, meaning I get paid a small amount if you purchase them, because I found it the easiest to find most things there.

1. Bassinet or side sleeper for sleeping in the tent at night – You want your baby close with easy access for quick nursing at night. I would have hated standing up to reach into a pack and play in the middle of the night.

2. Cotton footie pajamas and a Fleece Sleeper – When I first put her to bed it was still hot until about 9pm so I would put her in light cotton pajamas. Then when she would wake around 10pm to eat I would put a fleece sleeper on her to keep her warm in the night. I also wished I had a warm hat to put on her head in the middle of the night when it was the coldest. (My baby was done being swaddled by the time we camped so I didn’t bring any swaddles.)

3. All-terrain stroller – I used a stroller similar to this for my baby and it was awesome. I loved that she could nap in it while I walked around. I loved that I could keep my water bottle, sunscreen, bug repellant, sunglasses and a blanket near me all the time. This stroller worked great on gravel roads and grass.

4. Bamboo clothing or cotton bodysuits – This might seem like a frivolous expenditure, but I found wearing bamboo rayon was a life-saving. I wore some bamboo shirts and had two bamboo outfits for my baby. It kept her cool but covered and protected from the sun.

Silkberry Baby Bamboo Short Sleeve Onesie

5. Lots of gauze blankets for covering her, the stroller, and as a nursing cover. It will get pooped on and spit up on so have extras.

Baby-friendly bug spray – I tried this one that I linked to which kept my baby bug free but I got bit so there might be a better option out there. Just make sure you’re using something that won’t hurt your baby.

7. Chemical-free baby sunscreen – I know all sunscreens say don’t use on babies under 6 mos old, but babies can get sunburned in the shade. My pediatrician said that’s to protect babies. If people thought they could sunscreen their babies, then they would stick them right in the sun. I used sunscreen on my baby a couple of times a day and kept her in the shade as much as possible. 

Blue Lizard Australian SUNSCREEN SPF 30+, Baby

8. A battery powered clip-on fan – I would clip this on my baby’s stroller, cover it all with a blanket, and knew that she would stay cool while she napped. If she fell asleep in my arms I would hold it and point it right at her. It was a great little white noise machine too. Really quiet white noise, but my baby only needs a little bit.

9. A waterbottle and mister – You need to keep drinking lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated. My friend had a waterbottle with a mister and she would mist me and my baby every once in awhile. It was fantastic and cooling.

10. Play Yard – keep your baby clean and safe if you have to put her down.

11. A sheet to cover the play yard for shade. I put the play yard in the shade and put on the sheet to give extra sun protection.

12. A sunhat


13. Lots of diapers and WIPES

14. Something to bathe your baby in and a towel

If I had camped with my family and had less hands to hold her and had to be more involved with cooking/cleaning/activities, I would have also brought this.

1. A swing or bouncer for her to happily sit in

Author: Heather